Does the ACLU Want to Ban My Book?

Target stopped selling it in response to two Twitter complaints. A professor even wants to burn it.

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I never thought book banning would be respectable in America, much less that I’d be the target, but here we are. Last Thursday Target stopped selling my book, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” in response to two Twitter complaints.

One read: “In 2016, @Target, you released a statement affirming your support for transgender customers. @AskTarget why you’re selling a book notorious for its harmful rhetoric against us. Historically, harmful products have been pulled from this shelf, and this should be, too.”

The other: “I think the transcommunity deserves a response from @AskTarget @Target as to why they’re selling this book about ‘the transgender epidemic sweeping the country.’ ”

That’s a caricature of my view. I think mature adults should have the freedom to undergo medical transition. But teenagers are another matter. Social contagions exist, and teen girls are particularly susceptible to them. The book takes a hard look at whether the sudden spike in transgender identification among teen girls is yet another social contagion to befall girls who, in another era, might have fallen prey to anorexia or bulimia.

Many transgender adults, including some I interviewed for the book, agree that teen girls are undergoing medical transition too fast with too little oversight. Others disagree and have written books. Amid a sea of material unskeptically promoting medical transition for teenage girls, there’s one book that investigates this phenomenon and urges caution. That is the book the activists seek to suppress.

“Abigail Shrier’s book is a dangerous polemic with a goal of making people not trans,” Chase Strangio, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for transgender justice, tweeted Friday. “I think of all the times & ways I was told my transness wasn’t real & the daily toll it takes. We have to fight these ideas which are leading to the criminalization of trans life again.” Then: “Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on.”

You read that right: Some in today’s ACLU favor book banning. Grace Lavery, a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, went further, tweeting: “I DO encourage followers to steal Abigail Shrier’s book and burn it on a pyre.”

This is where leftist extremism, encouraged by cowardly corporations, leads. The market—that is, readers—should determine what booksellers carry. My book was consistently No. 1 in several categories on Amazon based on sales. But the online giant, under pressure from extremists, refused to allow my publisher to advertise “Irreversible Damage” on the site.

香蕉视频苹果下载At a time when independent bookstores are nearly extinct, chain bookstores are endangered, and Americans’ movement outside their homes is constrained by a pandemic, a handful of online retailers have outsize influence over the ideas to which we have access. And those ideas are being winnowed in one direction.

香蕉视频苹果下载Robin DiAngelo’s book, “White Fragility,” which falsely accuses millions of Americans of being inalterably racist, is for sale at Target.com, no matter how many Americans it might offend. It should be. The notion that civil society required a marketplace of ideas was something liberals once believed—especially those who worked at the ACLU, or taught at Berkeley.

In response to media attention and customer complaints, Target reversed itself; my book is again for sale. But other books will be quietly suppressed. In an America where the left has achieved dominance of cultural institutions and adopted a tyrannical opposition to other ideas, where social media extends its reach, and where books are distributed by a handful of retailers—a book burning doesn’t even require a populist uprising. It takes only one online extremist or two to make a book disappear. And when that happens, don’t look to the ACLU to defend you.

Ms. Shrier is author of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.”

Journal Editorial Report: Some progressives deploy social media to ostracize Republicans. Image: Tom Williams/Zuma Press

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香蕉视频苹果下载 Appeared in the November 16, 2020, print edition.